Samsung Debuts 2 Premium Versions of Gear S2 Smartwatch

The upgraded versions will be available in 18-karat rose gold or platinum, offering customers more luxurious editions of the consumer smartwatches.

Samsung, smartwatches, Gear S2, Gear S2 Classic, Apple Watch

Samsung unveiled two new, fancier editions of its Gear S2 Classic smartwatch, this time encasing the devices in 18-karat rose gold or platinum finishes to give them distinctive looks aimed at fashion-conscious consumers.

The new smartwatches, announced Jan. 6 at CES 2016, are slated for release in February, but prices have not yet been announced. The basic Gear S2 Classic smartwatches retail for $299.99.

The rose gold version of the Gear S2 classic will have an ivory leather band, while the platinum version will have a black leather band.

The Gear S2, which Samsung unveiled last September, features a circular watch face design reminiscent of classic timepieces, which incorporates a custom user interface and a rotating bezel, along with the home and back buttons to allow access to notifications and applications, according to an earlier eWEEK story. The 1.2-inch circular screen has 360-by-360 resolution (302 pixels per inch) and is powered by the latest Tizen operating system and an optimized 1GHz dual-core processor. The smartwatch also includes 4GB of internal storage and 512MB of memory, as well as a 250mAh battery that the company claims will last two to three days. The watch comes with a wireless dock for charging.

The Samsung Gear S2 works with compatible Android smartphones through the Samsung Gear S2 app. Compatible phones must be running Android 4.4 or later and have at least 1.5GB of RAM.

The smartwatch lets users receive notifications, news updates, email and calls right on their wrist, without having to pull out their smartphones.

"In 2015, we set a new standard with the Gear S2 in [the] smart wearable category," Younghee Lee, executive vice president of global marketing for Samsung's mobile communications business, said in a statement. "We broke barriers to introduce one of Samsung's most progressive wearable devices to date. In 2016, we will continue to raise the bar so that we can deliver products that our customers want most."

A wide array of apps is available for use with the Samsung Gear S2 smartwatches, including apps from CNN, Bloomberg, eBay, ESPN and Voxer.

The new watches will also include near-field communication (NFC) technology that makes them compatible with Samsung Pay, which will be available to Gear S2 users in the United States early this year, according to Samsung.

The latest versions of the Gear S2 Classic join an increasingly crowded market already populated with models by LG, Fitbit, Pebble and Apple.